Monday, December 29, 2008


I haven't blogged again in a while. I have lots of stuff to blog about but I just haven't sat down to type in a while. So, instead of coming up with something original tonight I just thought I would copy and paste an email I sent out to the girls in my small group a few days ago. It tells a little about what is going on in my life right now. I will blog more, with pictures from ummmm, let's see... Abigail's birthday up to Christmas, etc soon, just not tonight. But until then, here's that email:

Guess what... that verse I was telling you about my expectations being from God alone is in the Bible and guess what? it is from Psalm 62 (ever heard of that one? ) [Psalm 62 was the song of the month in November at church] in the NKJV it says "My soul, wait silently for God alone, For my expectation is from Him." So..... how did you do on Christmas with your expectations being on God alone? huh? I have been praying for all of you. Please reply with your report on your Christmas and how you did.

here is my report: We had a pretty good Christmas. The kids were thrilled with all of their gifts and had a really fun morning. It was fun to watch them this week as they were not only excited about the gifts that they were going to be getting but they were also very excited about the gifts that they were going to give each other and to see their siblings' reactions. Glenn and I don't usually buy each other gifts. Over the years we have both been hurt by the reactions from gifts that we have bought that were not well received so it has just been easier to not get gifts than to get hurt. I wasn't expected to get anything for Christmas and wasn't disappointed so that was good.

BUT... I have had a horrible attitude lately and have allowed myself to wallow in depression and have justified it by the fact that I have no parents and I have no idea what my future holds and that I am just a messie, etc. I was convicted of that this morning in my quiet time. I should have been convicted of it 3 days ago but of course I have been neglecting my time in my Bible because I would rather wallow than do something about it. Last night God told me to get out my Creative Counterpart book and start reading it again.... ouch! Then this morning in 1Tim 4:16 I read "Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching, persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you." I have not been paying attention to myself or persevering. I have been holding to my "Woe is me" attitude and that is not right. Please pray that I will find my hope (what my Bible say for expectations) in God alone and ask me how I am doing about it.

Friday, December 12, 2008


Long time no blog. Glenn told me that we got internet at home so I would blog more but we've had it over a week and I haven't blogged. Well, I'll write a quick one this morning. I have an old one that I wrote somewhere here on this computer that I will have to post too but for now...

I think that I will write about boxes. Boxes have been the bain of my existence. OK, not really but I have become very familiar with them. Our favorite boxes are Baxter boxes. If you are ever likely to move often you really need to become friends with someone on dialysis that is done at home and ask them to save their boxes for you. That is what we did. When my dad was doing dialysis at home we saw his boxes and asked him to PLEASE save them for us because they looked perfect for nomadic people like us. They are just the right size because no matter how full you make them or how heavy the stuff is that you put inside of them the average adult can still lift them. With light stuff inside them even the kids can carry them! They are also great because they are all the same size and therefore stack very nicely into moving trucks, the back of the Burb, horsetrailers, or whatever else you decide to use to move with. They also stack nicely in storage units when you are between places. I am getting better at moving. As I have unpacked this time I have kept the Baxter boxes together by type (kitchen, books, misc, etc) and have put them into piles of 10 then surrounded them with plastic wrap before putting them into the shed for our next move. I think that this will make our next move easier because when I decide to pack books I will just look for the stack of boxes marked "books" and start filling them instead of sorting through a pile of boxes for a box marked 'books." Then I will not have to use the big black marker as much because the boxes will be already labeled. I have tried to do this in the past so very few of the boxes actually have much crossed out on them. I am trying to remember how many moves these boxes have helped us through....  I think that our Baxter boxes have survived at least 7 moves so far and they are still going strong. I think that I am a snob in many areas and boxes are definitely one of them and Baxter boxes are my boxes of choice. 

We have discovered another use for Baxter boxes... they make a fun Christmas tree. There are a couple of banana boxes that we got from the Lilites and the box from our computer speakers but it is mostly Baxter boxes. Our "tree" looks best in the dark but it is fun and the kids have had fun decorating it yesterday.  I thought that it was appropriate to make our tree out of boxes this year since there were still so many in the downstairs of our house and because we have been filling them and emptying them for most of the year. There are more pictures of our tree in progress (with the amazing Baxter boxes) on a photo album that Glenn made on facebook here but here is a picture of it in the dark with the lights on.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving 2008

We decided that everyone had to share one thing that they are thankful for for every year that they have been alive... here are our lists from youngest to oldest accumulated on our trip home from Aunt Ruth & Uncle Jerry's house:

1.Mommy & Daddy & Lydia & Caleb & Hannah
3.My friends

1.Daddy & Momma & my sisters & brother
2.that we could play around at Aunt Ruthie's house
3.that Hannah is letting me sleep with her sometimes
4.Matt and that we gotted to go sledding with Matt

1.we got to see Kyle & Ehren
2.that yesterday was Abigail's birthday
3.that we get to see the Files tonight and Ella got to be back friends together again
6.we went sledding with Matt last year

1.God provides family
3.AWANA and church friends – Will & Drew Dudley, Levi, Gabe, Josiah, Benjamin, Hannah, Lydia, Abigail, Ehren & Kyle, Shandon,
5.Miss Emily (Sunday School teacher)
6.God's Word
7.Brian & Kristina Lishawa
8.Ben has changed
“I can't wait until I have 10!!”

1.Sonja- all her support and love for me.
2.Caleb and that he is growing spiritually and learning scripture
3.Hannah and that she is such a people lover
4.Lydia and that she is so indepentant and entertains herself well
5.Abigail, the one that makes me smile and laugh and cry sometimes, more often smile & laugh
6.That God wants me to grow and is helping me grow
7.Brian & Kristina letting us stay at their house for 2 months
8.our little house job, that I have one
11.small group parents interview at SUNY Upstate on 1/21/09
14.all of my secondaries are done
15.the Files
16.the Cronks
17.That our Suburban is still running and has been a good though gas guzzling vehicle
18.God's word
19.How God places reading material in my life that I need.
20.That Sonja has the strength and desire to homeschool our kids.
21.For the sermon series at Church on fighting fair.
22.Monroe library system
23.That God is in control in this crazy world
24.Friends that let us mooch wireless
25.I can walk to work Mac
27.we are living more simply and finding some good deals that help us live simply
28.God will be with me this year just as He has been in years past.

1.God is faithful and keeps His promises
3.How helpful Glenn has been, especially the last few months
4.Caleb and what a great help he is with and how much he loves his sisters and his love for reading
5.Hannah and what a good helper she is and her servant's heart
6.Lydia and her love for her siblings
7.Abigail and how she makes me laugh
8.our little house and that we don't own it :)
9.that Glenn can still walk to work
10.North Baptist Church
11.our small groups – old and new and the friendships we have developed through them
12.Brian and Kristina Lishawa (who are part of both our old and new small groups :)
13.that the Lishawas let us stay at their house for 2 months
14.the right to homeschool our kids
15.God's Word and what a help and a challenge it is to me
16.the Fighting Fair series
17.getting to visit the Middle East vicariously through David Whiting's blog
18.that I will get to see my parents again someday because they trusted Christ as their Savior and I have as well
19.God is a Father to the father-less
20.facebook and how I have been able to catch up with old friends through it
21.our kids play so well together
22.Monroe County Library System – particularly having 4 libraries within 2 miles of our house
23.“He sets up kings and deposes them.”
24.I'm learning to live more simply Wegmans bags – I love those things! I have only taken home about a dozen plastic bags all year because of them! wireless at libraries, coffee shops and friends' homes. new business and especially the difference that all of the free products I have earned have made in my kitchen! blog and how writing in it has helped me and others this year.
29.God always provides for us godly heritage and the privilege of passing it on to my kids.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

what is new

Here is a blog that I wrote last week. I finally am able to post it so here it is belated...


Well... what is new? Why is Sonja not blogging? Does anyone out there miss my blog? I miss blogging. At this point we do not have internet at home because we haven't found space for it in our budget that hasn't been looked at since FPU (sorry Dave Ramsey! - oops! we're working on that but that is another story) so Glenn checks his email at work and occasionally glances at mine and I check mine once or twice a week before or after small group (all of the homes we've met at so far have wireless) or at the library. The budget thing is true but it is not the real reason that we don't have internet. Getting rid of the internet for a season is something I really needed to do. Sure, we could have called up Time Warner as soon as we moved in but I knew that would not have been good for me. I am struggling with so much stuff right now both emotionally and school-wise and box-wise that I knew it would be easier for me to hide on the computer rather than deal with real life that really needs to be dealt with. I had way too much of an internet addiction (can anyone say facebook??) and it really needed to be broken. This fall I have been doing Beth Moore's study on Daniel at church and I have been amazed as I look at my pretty unmaterialistic in my opinion mindset how much I am influenced with our “Babylonian” society's mindset. It is everywhere – you can do it all, be it all, have it all... you deserve it, you need it. “I am and there is none besides me.” How God has had to break me and make me step back and realize that it is NOT all about me. We do not have to buy into this world's mindset but “godliness is never accidental.” So I am trying. Someday we will have internet at home again and my treatment of it will be different. I am reminded of that song “He's still working on me, to make me what I ought to be, it took Him just a week to make the moon and the stars, the sun and the earth and jupiter and mars, how loving and patient He must be cause, He's still working on me.” And I am so glad He is.

Well, enough of that. What is new? Maybe I can come up with a list of 10 things. We'll see how far I get:
1.Our new small group. We loved our small group from last year but we were getting so big that it was time to multiply. We split off with the Lishawas to start a group down in the south part of the city on Monday nights. There are 6 couples that regularly meet together when our doctors and nurses are not at the hospital. We have decided to take a sermon discussion approach since it worked so well during the relationship series during the first 6 weeks and it has been great to grow and pray together and hold each other accountable. I am so excited about the work that God is doing in all of our lives and the victories that we have made. I could go on but I am going to try to keep this short.
2.Fighting Fair. Our pastor did an amazing series on Fighting Fair at church this fall. If you are in a conflict with anyone right now or ever have been or ever will be (did I get everyone?) this is an amazing series for you to listen to. Go to and look under sermon archives or something like that and look for messages from September 7-October 19. Download all of them and listen to them!! It totally changed my life and perspective on conflict. There were messages about asking for forgiveness (a lot different than just saying 'I'm sorry'), confrontation, the cost of forgiveness, church discipline, overcoming evil with good. To sum it up quickly:
1.Sinful people respond sinfully when they are sinned against.
2.Your goal in conflict cannot be to win the conflict or to avoid the conflict, your goal must be to please God.
3.God's goal in conflict is to make us more like Him.
4.My biggest enemy in conflict is ME!
3.We have resumed school. Our “one week off for fall break/moving” turned into almost 3 weeks. It was bad. I was so overwhelmed with trying to find places for stuff and not finding places for stuff and sitting amidst boxes and pulling my hair out trying to figure out how and where to do school in this house but it has gotten better. Glenn helped me to come up with a schedule for our day and encouraged me to stick with it and it has gone much better. Some grumbling to start but we are enjoying it again so that is good.
4.Our CLA (Couch Like Apparatus). Space and storage is of the essence when you are living in a house of less than 600 sq feet with 5 other people. Glenn wanted to make a couch for us that the seat lifted off and we could store our camping stuff or off season clothes in it but hadn't made progress on it and we were all longing for something else to sit on besides our one recliner. Yes, all 4 kids can sit on my lap on it while we are reading a story but it would be nice to spread out a little so we started looking for a couch on craigslist. I thought we would just find a love seat or something else that would work for the time being but we found our CLA. It was homemade by the people we bought it from with really heavy pieces of wood but it has storage under it and we have been able to put some stuff that we wanted to keep but didn't want out or didn't need this winter under there. It is huge. When sitting on it my feet do not touch the floor. I am thankful for it though it was not exactly what we had in mind for a couch.
5.We have sold some stuff on Craigslist (we are not just buying this time). We sold out roll top desk (which we had no room for), our sleigh bed (which, if you remember, we could not get the boxsprings up the stairs for), and Caleb's old white bmx bike. It seems like there was something else but I can't remember what it was. There are a few more things that need to be posted and, I think, one thing still out there but that is a praise!
6.Glenn and I have both gone out this week with other people without any family member. On Tuesday I went out with a couple of ladies from small group to Phillip's European for dessert because I had been stuck in the house all day on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday with sick kids so couldn't go to church or small group or the library. It was fun getting to know them better and sharing our lives (until 11:20 – yikes!). Tonight Glenn is at the Distillery with some people from work because it is the last day of three different employees from his unit. With Glenn at small group on Monday and me at AWANA last night and the opposite person staying home with sick kids we haven't really seen each other much. I think that we need to go on a date. We haven't been on one in several months. Somehow I really need to start making my relationship with Glenn a priority again!
7.Speaking of Glenn.... he has been offered an interview at Upstate on 1/12/09. Yeah! His first one. I am praying for more, specifically for U of R but God knows what is best.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

October Pictures

Well, I haven't posted in a long time because we don't have internet at home but here are some pictures from the month of October. There are pictures from our Sparks hike for AWANA, moving into our new place, Caleb's best friend Will's birthday party, our last trip to Seneca Park Zoo before our membership expired, Halloween fun at Brighton Library, Strong Museum of Play and trick or treating, and cleaning up around our new house.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A quick update

Here I sit at the Brighton Library checking email and letting the kids play. This is a fun library! (one of the 4-5 branches within 2 miles from our new house). 

Here is a quick list of updates:

1. Our mattress is no longer on the floor. Lishawa's to the rescue again. They had a platform bed in their attic that they didn't need and let us use! It is great to have our bed off the floor and to be able to store our camping stuff somewhere!

2. Our storage unit is completely empty!! Yeah! Special thanks to Fray for coming over to watch our kids for a little bit yesterday and let us borrow her van to make that possible!!

3. We have lost 78 pounds. Glenn took a load to Goodwill yesterday. We have lots more to lose though!!

4. We have lots of stuff on Craigslist. If you know anyone who wants a roll top desk, a twin sized bedframe, a large dining room table with 6 chairs, a bike or two, a cherry stained double bed frame, a double boxsprings or anything else that you remember us owning let me know. We are trying to get rid of lots of stuff to be able to fit in our tiny house. 

5. I measured our house today. I am not sure how exactly square footage is measured but I am pretty sure that no matter how it is measured our house is less than 600 square feet. (Hence the reason we have to get rid of so much!)

6. Sunday was the last message in a 7 week series on Fighting Fair at church. It has been an amazing and life changing series that I am so thankful for!! If you want to listen to the messages  (which I would highly recommend!) the church website is and you can listen or download the messages.

Well, I need to get home and get supper going. Until next time.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Am I home yet?

written 10/9/08

We have spent a bit of time yesterday and today over at Brian and Kristina's packing up, cleaning up, checking internet and loving on Sampson. I always wonder when our new place will feel like home. Though we had slept at our house for the first time on Monday night I had my first taste of "home" on Tuesday when we took a walk through Highland Park to get to Highland Library so I could move my voter registration again. It was so fun to wander through the park and play with the trees and pick up buckeyes. It made me feel like I had come home. We LOVE Highland Park and have missed it living on the other side of the river :). On our way home from the library we saw "Miss Betty" and chatted with her for a while which was so much fun. We have missed her! We also saw Bill and Felix, our old downstairs neighbors and said "hi." They all asked if we were picking up Daddy from work and we said, "No, we are just walking home from the library." They were excited for us that we had gotten our own place again.

Today I baked bread and brownies... does that mean I am home? I still haven't prepared a decent meal for my family yet unless loaded nachos, bologna sandwiches, or fried potatoes and PBJ count :). I will get it together soon, hopefully! Tomorrow is Friday – pizza night! Is that a decent meal? I don't know but at least there will be leftovers so I don't have to worry about lunch on Saturday.

One thing I always worry about when we move to a new place is if the kids have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. I am always afraid that I will find puddles in the morning or hear kids crying in the middle of the night because they can not find the bathroom. So far, that has not happened this time but something else bathroom related has happened. Our bathroom is on the first floor off the kitchen. At Brian and Kristina's house the bathroom is on the second floor near the bedrooms. I actually like that set up better but that is a different story. Yesterday (I think, the days are all running together) Abigail went running up the stairs. She got about half way up and then said "Silly Abigail" and turned around and came back down and went into the bathroom. We cracked up. I love how much she talks and how much of a little person she is. "Silly Abigail."

Well, I have lots more unpacking to do. As I picked up our scale yesterday I decided that I am going to weigh how much stuff we give and throw away and I will keep track of it here. We need to get rid of a lot of stuff! We have kept and moved way too much over the last 9 years/ 13 moves. I want to have a simpler life and that means less stuff :)

Moving Day 3

written 10/7/08

Sunday was a pretty crazy day with church at 8:30, helping in 2s and 3s at 10 then I watched the video for the Daniel study during the 11:30 hour while the oldest 3 were in HighPoint and Glenn and Abigail hung out in the library. Thankfully I had made chili and thrown it in the crockpot so we came home, ate, then got very little done Sunday afternoon before heading back to church for Vertical Worship. Needless to say we did not get much done on Sunday moving wise.

Yesterday we decided to get everything out of Brian and Kristina's. We took a pretty full load over and started unpacking some then needed to head back over there for small group. I am really not sure how we are going to make this house work. I am kind of depressed that we are paying $75 more a month for this house than our last apartment and we have so much less space. We are going to have to get creative and get rid of a lot of stuff which is hard for me. It will be good though because a lot of what we own is not practical for how we live. Glenn has some fun ideas for furniture for us that he has found from browsing some small spaces websites. We'll take pictures along the way so you can see our progress. But here is a picture of the wall of boxes from yesterday, the kitchen/ dining room side of our downstairs (with bonus boxsprings that won't fit up the stairs or through the window), and Hannah helping Glenn put together the bunk beds. I am hoping to make a lot of progress unpacking today.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Adventures in Moving - Day 2

Well, today was a busy day. Last night I had emptied our dressers. We had moved our dressers here instead of to storage so we would have a place to put our clothes. Most of the clothes were shorts which really aren't necessary right now when it wasn't supposed to get much above 55 today. I am looking forward to digging into the "fall/winter" boxes that are at our new house (I think) so that my kids can be dressed appropriately.

Back to my story... this morning the kids and I went up to Seneca Park for the AWANA Sparks hike. We all went even though Hannah is our only Spark this year. It was a lot of fun and it turned out to be beautiful weather for the hike (even though there was rain in the forecast for this morning). All of the pictures on this post are from the hike. My girls particularly liked hanging out with Heidi. There is a picture of them there with Heidi and her brothers Kip and Derrik. I had the girls wear their pink rain coats today to be a kind of a wind breaker. It was easy to find them when they were wearing them but I kept coming up with 4 girls (which I know that I do not have) because Ruby was wearing a coat the same color (you can see her in a couple of the pictures). My girls had all ditched their coats before I took any pictures. Caleb mostly hung out with me and was disappointed that Will was not there to hang out with like last time. It was fun going on the hike with Mrs. P because she always has such interesting information and the kids just love her!

While the kids and I had fun at the hike Glenn was back home moving. A couple of couples from our young couples Adult Bible Class - John and Kirsten and Peter and Christina came over to help him. They got a load from here including dressers and the kids mattresses and then a load from storage including our table (minus the pedestals) and our bed. We showed up when they were just about done and rode up the elevator to grab a little bit more (it truly is amazing how much will fit in the Burb!) and the kids played with the balls in the halls again then we headed to our new place to drop everything off. We were just about unloaded when they tried to get our box springs upstairs to where we are planning on sleeping. It won't fit up the stairs so it was taken outside and they tried to get it through the window. Still a no go so back inside to try the stairs again... nope. I really wish I would have gotten pictures of all of this... the camera was in the car. It was frustrating because if we only had about an inch... but no. I am not sure how people got beds up there before. I am not sure how we are going to be sleeping. I was really planning on using that space under the bed to store stuff. It will all work out. There was a fun idea in Ready Made that we might do... we'll see. Depends on how creative we get. We really need more nomadic furniture and not so much "normal people" furniture. Glenn found this fun idea here that I would be interested in. It sounds like a great idea.... we'd just need a couple extra of the bed things.

Anyway, we have 3 loads down, not sure how many to go before we are completely moved in. This afternoon I left Glenn and the kids at home while I went to do a Cooking Show. There weren't a lot of guests but I met some new people and had fun making a yummy chocolate peanut butter cup torte. 

Thursday, October 02, 2008

The Moving has Begun (again!)

Today we decided to start moving some of our stuff into our new house from our storage unit. We decided to get school and lunch out of the way before going and Glenn was finishing up a couple of more secondaries (they are almost all done!!). Our stuff is stored on the 3rd floor of a business and we have to use a freight elevator to get it down. Putting stuff into the storage unit was pretty easy. Fill the Burb, drive it there, put the stuff on the elevator, take it to the unit. Taking it from the unit was not quite so easy. We like to have the Burb really full whenever we take loads because, well, we might as well... it takes less trips. It is amazing to me how much the Burb holds! It really is a great vehicle in that regard!! We got to our storage unit in the mid-afternoon and someone was using the freight elevator. (We really need to call first next time to make sure it is available.) We had a pallet so decided to fill the pallet with boxes so we could just cart it to the elevator when it was free. It was a much longer pallet than I was used to and it had little indents on the side that I thought that the little dolly forklift thing (I have no idea what it is called) would fit in so I convinced Glenn that we should turn it the other way in the hallway. It was about half full of boxes at this point so we took all the boxes off turned the pallet then filled the pallet the rest of the way up. Then we waited... and waited... and waited. I think that there was a delivery for the business and someone else was dropping off stuff from a BIG white truck for their storage unit. We were probably on the 3rd floor of this warehouse building with our 2,4,6&8 year olds for at least an hour, if not an hour and a half or more waiting for the elevator. We sang and danced and ran and played games and looked at pictures from the picture tote that we'd put on the pallet and waited. There were a few windows that we could look out (at least the 3 of us who were tall enough) and waited. Finally the elevator was free and we brought the aforementioned thing that I don't know the name of to our pallet and guess what? I was wrong! The pallet was supposed to go the other way, oops! We quickly unloaded the pallet and then flipped it and reloaded it then took it to the elevator. The man was wondering if we were really going to fit all of those boxes into our vehicle and we assured him that they would fit and they did with lots of space to spare so we went back up and grabbed 20 more boxes then there was still room so we went and grabbed a few more. We got all of our Baxter boxes out of storage and a couple of totes and a few other things. We still have quite a bit still there but we did put a dent in it. If I did my math right I think that we moved at least 70 boxes to our house today all in our Burb in one trip. It is days like today that I love our Burb (and days like tomorrow when I need to put gas in it that I hate it :)) One load down, ?? more to go.

Oatmeal Bread

Today Glenn and I sat down to look at the next week and figure out when he'd be working, when we'd moving and when we'll be staying where, etc. I decided to bake some bread because with moving, trying to keep up with school, finishing Glenn's secondaries, etc, etc, etc and we are probably going to be hungry at some point this week and bread is a good thing to have in the house.

My favorite cookbook is the More With Less Cookbook ( love, love, love this cookbook, a definite must have!) and my favorite bread recipe from More With Less is Oatmeal Bread. It is so yummy! After baking it today and eating a sandwich with it I thought that I really needed to post the recipe on my blog just in case I want to bake it and can't find my cookbook (which would be the end of the world!!) or want to make it at someone else's house. Also if you feel adventurous and would like to try it feel free. As I have said before, it is tasty!

Oatmeal Bread
(says it makes 2 loaves, I usually double it and make it into 3 loaves in my 9" loaf pans)
Combine in large bowl:
1C quick oats
1/2C whole wheat flour (I usually do more than that!)
1/2C brown sugar (I usually do less than that!)
1T salt
2T margarine
Pour over:
2C boiling water
Stir in to combine.
Dissolve 1pkg yeast in 1/2C warm water
When batter is cooled to lukewarm add yeast.
Stir in:
~5C white flour (less if you've added extra wheat flour)
When dough is stiff enough to handle turn onto floured board and knead 5-10 minutes. Place in greased bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled. Punch down and let rise again. Shape into 2 loaves and place in greased 9x5x3 pans. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes. Cool on rack, brushing with margarine for a soft crust.

I laughed as I typed the recipe at several of the things that I do differently than it says to. I love home made bread! I have only bought probably 8 loaves of bread in the last year so this is the bread we usually make sandwiches on (unless I get lazy and make Mom's French Bread recipe which I'll save for another post).

Here is a picture of the 2 loaves that are left after having sandwiches for supper (there are also a few crumbs from the first loaf visible on the counter.) Now one is in a plastic container for enjoyment tomorrow and one is in the freezer for us to eat in a couple of days. Yeah for homemade bread and having food in the house!

Monday, September 29, 2008

How do I find out about all these cool events?

I am often asked after I tell people about cool things that I have done with the kids: "How did you find out about that?" Things like what we have done lately and blogged about... Darien Lake, Tinker Nature Center, WXXI.

I am going to fill you in on my little secret "Rochester Kids Out and About".

Just go to the link and look for events for the week or you can have a reminder to check the site and a highlight of upcoming events come to your email by putting your email address in the upper right hand corner. Even if you do not live in Rochester but occasionally come to Rochester it is a great resource. I have seen events listed on it from as far away as Auburn, Buffalo, Wyoming (the town, not the state my dear western relatives), Naples. It is a great resource. I have found SO many fun things to do with the kids from this site.

The lady that does the site is a homeschooling mom of two so obviously she loves to learn and explore with her kids. I highly recommend this site to everyone within an hour or so from Rochester!! Check it out.

WXXI's Open House

On Saturday for another "field trip " we went down to WXXI for their 50th anniversary open house. WXXI is a public broadcasting station downtown with several TV and radio stations. It was a lot of fun to explore the master control rooms, TV sets and radio studios. There were characters from various children's shows that they broadcast and tables for the many neat programs that they have available. There were also lots of other fun things going on. We really learned a lot and I was able to realize what a great resource WXXI really is in our area. Here are a few pictures of the fun things that we did:

We met Curious George.

We got to play with a SmartBoard on the set of Homework Hotline.

We got vision and hearing screenings done. We found out that Caleb has great vision and that both Hannah and Lydia may have a little bit of an astigmatism in their right eyes. We also found out how really bad my hearing is in my right ear. I had had a tempanoplasty and mastoidectomy done when Hannah was a little baby but soon thereafter got pregnant with Lydia so I never had the reconstructive surgery on my ear. The doctor who tested me said that I really should not be driving without amplification in my right ear or getting the reconstructive surgery because my brain can't tell which direction sound is coming from. I already know this because I always have to have my kids search for my phone whenever it rings because I can't tell where the ringing is coming from. I didn't realize that it was as bad as it is so sometime soon I should really get that dealt with. The doctor told Glenn he should raise his pitch and make sure to let me see his mouth when he talks to me for improved communication. The producer of Second Opinion that was there with him laughed that he was giving out marriage counsel :)

We visited the set of Assignment the World which is also made here in Rochester and broadcast across the country and Glenn disappeared. I love the look on the little boys face.

The anchor for the show said that she has to be very careful not to wear that shade of green or she looks really funny on TV:)

Another fun thing that we got to do was play with the RPO's (Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra) Instrument Petting Zoo. Here are my little musicians in the making.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Deaf Awareness Day and Curious George

We went to the Strong Museum of Play yesterday because it was Deaf Awareness Day (homeschool field trip!!) and because we hadn't gone to check out the new Curious George traveling exhibit yet and to get out of Daddy's hair while he was working on his secondaries. We had a lot of fun doing all kinds experiments in the Curious George exhibit. I have included a few pictures here but I posted more to facebook here if you want to see more.

Lydia really loved the rocket ship slide. There was also a goofy mini golf course, a produce market, a farm, a place to learn about wind power, a construction site, a place to play with shadows and I am sure many other things that I can't remember right now. I like this exhibit much more than the Clifford one that just left though that one was fun too. This is the 4th traveling exhibit that has been here since we got our membership last September.

I like going to the Museum of Play on the special days that they have throughout the year when they have other activities going on. For Deaf Awareness Day they had a concert (that we missed - big bummer!) by the Rochester School of the Deaf and School #1. There was also a song time where we got to learn a few children's songs in ASL. There was also an interpreter for story time. Instead of just reading a book this time they did a performance of Goldilocks and the Three Bears with volunteers from the audience - Caleb got to be "baby bear." He was a good sport but he is pretty embarrassed about the pictures I took so they may not be on facebook long :) There were also finger spelling letters for the kids to make their names on either a crown or a necklace... as you can see in the picture Hannah made hers into a belt (like Grandpa Maas) so Abigail did as well.

As we were getting ready to go the Wii was available so Caleb got to play for a while. We also found that our favorite toys were back out - the create your own animal toys so we stopped and played with them for a while. We also made a quick stop at Wegmans for one shopping trip. We hadn't been to the Museum of Play in a while and they have all new grocery items (possibly not in the produce and bakery section but everywhere else). There are a lot more healthy options out there which is fun. I talked to one of the workers and she told me that the sugar content went way down. I like all the new options but they moved stuff around so I had a hard time finding where to put stuff back (just like when they move stuff around at a normal grocery store!)

Oh, I love that place. It is so much fun!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The End Has Come

Several years ago (when we were living in Waterloo the first time) I ordered Family Fun magazine when a lady from Mothers Against Drunk Driving called asking for a donation. I had remembered that my mom had gotten it for a while and it always had fun ideas in it and I always enjoyed looking through it. I remember when I got my first issue and realized that I would be getting the magazine until Caleb was 8 and it sounded like forever! (I'm not even sure that he was 2 yet at the time.) But... Caleb is 8 now... "IT'S OVER!" no more Family Fun. I have decided not to continue the subscription because the magazine often just makes me feel guilty over all these cool projects that I never make time or get the materials to do with the kids. I figure with the 6 years of magazines (I have thrown some of them away... need to get rid of more when we unpack!) I will have ideas for years to come. So... good bye Family Fun... it has been fun :)

Our new favorite magazine is Ready Made. It is so much fun. There are all kinds of creative ways to re-use stuff and make your small space more usable. We got a free 3 year subscription to it from some free sample website. The issue we got today said "50+ ways to improve your shoebox." I thought... hmmm... I am moving into a small space (I just edited the blog about our new house to include a picture of the outside) with 5 other people... this will probably come in handy. I am looking forward to tomorrow night when Glenn and I will have a "date" looking through it.

Not Exactly Free

Tonight was Cold Stone Creamery's World's Largest Ice Cream Social to support the Make a Wish Foundation. We had never had ice cream from Cold Stone so we thought we'd make the trip over to Pittsford and check it out. Hannah, Lydia and I enjoyed Nutter Butter Ice cream with yellow cake, white chocolate chips, and Kit Kats mixed in - it was very yummy! Glenn, Caleb and Abigail had the other choice - marshmellow ice cream with fudge, Oreo Cookies and chocolate chips. I tried both and I am glad that I picked the Nutter Butter one. They were both so rich though that I don't think that I could have eaten more than the 3 oz free cup that we were given. (I took a picture of us enjoying our ice cream outside with my phone but with no flash you couldn't really see anything so no picture for this one.)

If you are a Maas and you go to Pittsford Plaza you are required (I think) to go to EMS. We miss the old EMS at Marketplace (especially when Galyans was across the hall to compete) but it is still fun to go there. Of course you always have to check out the clearance and returns racks (I am sure that we have never paid full price for anything at EMS) to see what is available. We went in looking to possibly buy biking shorts for Glenn but he also needs some kind of head light for riding his bike since it is getting darker earlier (boo hoo) I am looking forward to 12/26 when the days start getting longer again (though, I guess we have much more daylight today than we do then... hmmm... maybe I should rethink my theory on that one). Anyway, back to my story... I guess that a picture is worth a thousand words so the picture is to the left here. We bought a headlamp that straps to the front of a bike that the "batteries need replacing" for half price. Also a head lamp that Glenn can wear while riding his bike and I can wear when we go camping for half price because it was "removed from packaging." Glenn also got a Buck knife for half price because it had a "rusty blade." There were just a couple of specks of rust on it that will be easy to remove with a little elbow grease. He has been wanting a new knife so he was happy. He tells me all 3 will keep him safe on his ride home through the 19th Ward... I'm not sure that I think that he should carry the knife. This is the first time that we have found good returns since EMS has moved to Pittsford so we were excited. Oh, I am remembering some things that we have paid full price for at EMS so I don't want to lie but we have found some good deals there over the years including tonight. :) So much for going to Pittsford for free ice cream :)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

An Unexpected Haircut

As the years have gone by I have escaped one of those experiences almost every parent has to go through and as the years have gone by I have thought "maybe it won't happen in our family"... Well, it happened. Today, while we were working on math, Lydia wandered off with a pair of scissors and I didn't think anything of it because cutting things is one of her new favorite pastimes and I told her she could cut up anything in the recycle bin. Oops... she came back in with a guilty look on her face and a fist full of pretty blond curls. Here is a picture of part of what she cut off. It could have been worse. I think that this is actually most of the hair she cut. She told me that she wanted to show her hair to Sammy (Brian and Kristina's cat). She gave herself a haircut on the side that is usually shorter anyway because she twirls that side and it snaps off. I am not sure if you would be able to tell a difference in a before and after picture because, thankfully, she has some natural wave in her hair. I am thankful that (so far) she has been the only one and she didn't to a major chop job like I have seen in some "after" shots. Well... one more life experience down... many more to go in this parenting adventure I am sure!


For most of last week during my quiet time I was stuck on 1 Thessalonians 5:24 "Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass."

I love this verse and have been so encouraged by it lately. The verse is so freeing! He has called me and He will do it! It does not negate my responsibility to do my part BUT the end result does not depend on me! HE will bring it to pass!

He always takes care of the details so I don't have to freak out... what a blessing! I can trust Him. My future is in His capable hands. How great that I don't only have to depend on me!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Lydia's name

This morning while we were doing school Lydia and Abigail were playing with the letter tiles from UpWords. They were making towers and having fun then I noticed that Lydia was urgently looking for the letter "Y". She found all of the letters for her name and made her name on the table. She was so proud and I was excited. I knew that she knew that her name was spelled "L-Y-D-I-A" but didn't know that she knew all of those letters and could find them. It was fun because she did it herself. This is my first video posting but I thought that it would be fun to have video posts every now and again since we don't see our family very often... at least they can see how the kids are growing through videos... more videos to come.... someday :)

No Longer Homeless

Thanks for all the prayers of those of you who have been praying for us to find a home. We are no longer homeless as of when the Lishawa's return - yeah!

We haven't signed a lease yet but the landlord did a background check on us and we are good to go for this little house. The pictures are of the downstairs of our house... yes, I know, there is not a lot of living space. The stairs go up to the 2 bedrooms upstairs. On this side of the stairs is the laundry room with washer and dryer (which I am very excited about) and pantry. In there is also the furnace and tankless water heater. Beyond the stairs you can see the bathroom door. There is also a shed outside where we can store our bikes and there is a large yard. I will post some of our actual pictures when I take some.

At our new home we are again surrounded by Highland Park. It is about .8 miles uphill to Highland, where Glenn is working now. He has applied for a few jobs at Strong and it is a good location for working there as it is about a mile from there as well. (No parking fees!!)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sweet Honey from the Honeycomb

Yesterday we went to Tinker Nature Park and Hansen Nature Center for their Harvest Festival and got to watch them extract honey from their hives. It was neat since I had never seen it done before. They had brought a large number of frames in from their honey boxes. (We didn't get to see them do this.) First they scraped the honey off the frame.

Frames were then put into this centrifuge extractor.

Here are the three steps we saw inside: scraping, the extractor machine and then the man in the tan shirt is filling honey bottles to sell.

We got to sample many snacks made with honey and took some recipes to try at home. Today we tried one of the recipes and made some yummy cookies made with honey. We bought this little bee filled with honey to take home. It was so sweet and it was fun to know that it had been attached to the honeycomb that morning!

While there we also got to listen to some live music while we snacked on donut holes and apple cider.

We also explored the Tinker farmhouse and the barn and got to learn about old farm equipment and even try some out like this potato sorter.

Whenever you go to Tinker Nature Park you always run into some kind of wildlife. There were LOTS of people there so we didn't get to see nearly as much this time but this snake was out sunning himself on the boardwalk so we took his picture.

It was a fun science, history, and PE field trip. School on Saturdays is fun!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Getting Wet at Darien Lake

This weekend and last weekend Darien Lake was running a "Carload" special that allowed everyone who could legally ride in your vehicle (were seatbelted) to get into the theme park for $24.99 plus tax and parking. We had never taken the kids to an amusement park because it is expensive but we decided that we should go because we could get in for such a cheap price.

Our first ride was the ferris wheel. We didn't actually get to get a real ride on the ferris wheel because it started to rain just as we got to the top so they got the other people off then brought us off and let us off as well. It was fun to get up so high to get our first look around the park though. Can you see how excited Lydia was??

Caleb was a little bit nervous of the height!

After getting off the ferris wheel it started raining pretty hard. We headed to the kiddy area where we got completely soaked from the rain dropping off the hot air balloons we rode in (sorry, no pictures, it was raining too hard to get our camera out!). We rode several of the kiddy rides (even Glenn and I got to ride some of them with them) then headed out to check out the rest of the park. Since we were already soaked Glenn and Caleb decided to try out this ride. It ended with a free fall into water that completely soaked the bridge that didn't leave them with one dry spot.

Hannah was the most dare devil of all the kids to start out with. She asked Glenn if he would go on this ride with her. By the end of the day we all (except Abigail who was too short) rode this ride.

I think that the kids decided that the spinning rides were their favorite. They all (again, accept Abigail but she was too tired by that point) loved the Sleigh Ride ride the best. I am not sure what they liked best.. that it took them up and down and in circles and into a cave part or the fact that they got to ride it 3-4 times in a row without getting off :) (going to Darien Lake on a rainy day in mid-September is actually very nice... there were just about no lines. Glenn walked right up to the Viper (roller coaster) and rode it. I think that my kids got an unrealistic view of what amusement parks are like from this day :)

The only ride that we had to wait in line for was the Tin Lizzies. Caleb and Hannah lead the pack followed by Lydia and me then Glenn and Abigail took up the rear.

The kids also got to practice their driving skills in the bumper cars. Caleb was so excited to drive his own car!

We rode them several different times and one time they even let Hannah get behind the wheel on her own (even though I know that she was too short!) She was very excited though and did well.

Abigail was so bummed because she wasn't even tall enough to ride in a bumper car, let alone drive one. Late in the afternoon we found the kiddy bumper cars and she was so excited! (She looks like a drowned rat, doesn't she!) The bumper cars didn't work out as well as she though they would because she never actually left this corner and wanted to get out long before the ride was over. The other three liked it though.

It was easy to find the kids all day because of their rain coats. This is how the rides looked most of the day.... just us.... which was so fun! We were soaked and exhausted at the end of the day but Lydia wanted to go back again the next day anyway. I'm glad that we did it. I don't know that I would want to pay full price for all of us to go there but I think that if we could get in on another car-load deal we may just do it again and by then Abigail will be big enough for all of the rides too, probably. Anyway it was a fun day and we made some great memories... Next time I just need to remember to bring dry pants and underwear for myself and Glenn (not just the kids) but, boy, did those sweatshirts feel nice when we got back to the car! On our way home we stopped at Olivers in Batavia and each got a chocolate treat. I remember stopping there as a kid with my dad. We've noticed it many times over the years driving past but have never stopped. It was fun to bring Glenn and the kids there to share some of my memories. I'm so glad Glenn had last Saturday off!